For Immediate Release
Virica Biotech Announces Collaboration with the Government of Canada
to Make Gene Therapies More Accessible and Affordable for Canadians
Ottawa, Canada – May 2, 2022 –Virica Biotech Inc. (“Virica”), a leading developer of solutions for scaling of viral medicines, today announced it has received $400,000 from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) through the Innovative Solutions Canada (ISC) program. This funding supports Virica’s collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada’s (NRC) Cell and Gene Therapy Challenge program to enhance the manufacturing of an affordable version of AAV-LPL, a gene therapy being developed for people with debilitating lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD).
NRC researchers are re-engineering AAV-LPL using new adeno-associated viral (AAV) derived vectors to advance the LPLD gene therapy originally developed at the University of British Columbia. AAV vectors are the delivery vehicle of choice for inserting therapeutic genes into cells, but increasing production yields of these biopharmaceuticals in sufficient quantities to meet demand is challenging.
Virica is deploying its custom VSE™ formulation, in collaboration with the NRC, to design a more robust AAV vector manufacturing process. The VSE™ formulation is tailor-made to optimize the scalability of the NRC’s AAV manufacturing process and produce the next-generation gene therapy for LPLD.
“The NRC offers Canadian businesses access to unique expertise in this area, as well as outstanding research and manufacturing facilities. It will be exciting to see the NRC use our VSEs to produce higher yields of their AAV vectors and ultimately contribute to lowering the cost of a life-saving gene therapy for people with LPLD.”
– Jean-Simon Diallo, CEO of Virica Biotech.
“The funding from ISC supports our commitment to partnering with gene therapy developers and manufacturers, as we push for more scalable and cost-effective processes, in order for new cell and gene therapies to be affordable to all.”
– Ella Korets-Smith, Chief Business Officer of Virica Biotech.
“Our government is proud to support companies like Virica Biotech as they work to make medical therapies more affordable through innovative solutions. The work Virica is undertaking can offer real hope to those suffering from a rare disease for which there are no treatments, and more so, could make it more affordable for Canadians.”
– The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
“The NRC’s collaboration with Virica Biotech will help expand Canada’s capacity to domestically manufacture AAV gene therapy vectors. It brings us one step closer to accelerating the development of affordable and accessible made-in-Canada cell and gene therapies, through innovative partnerships with government, academia and industry.”
– Iain Stewart, President of the National Research Council of Canada
Lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPLD) is a rare, inherited disease for which no treatment exists. People with LPLD have a faulty gene and are unable to breakdown fat particles carried in their blood. The accumulation of fat turns their blood white and leads to recurring and potentially fatal pancreatitis attacks. LPLD affects about two people out of a million, but in the Saguenay region of Quebec, as many as one in 50 people carry the gene mutation.
About Virica Biotech
Virica optimizes the manufacturing of viral medicines which allows developers to economically deploy their products at scale. Virica’s Viral Sensitizer (VSE™) platform reduces production inefficiencies caused by innate anti-viral defenses in manufacturing cells. Customized VSE formulations substantially increase manufacturing yields and reduce the cost of goods for a range of products, including vaccines, cell and gene therapies, and anti-cancer therapies. Visit viricabiotech.com for more information.
Photos available upon request.
Virica Biotech T: 1 902 209 4704 / E: Communications@viricabiotech.com
Jennifer Cameron, Communications
This news release contains “forward-looking statements,” which reflect the current expectations of the Company’s management for future growth, results of operations, performance and business prospects. Forward-looking statements involve significant known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions.